Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Garden Porn Revisited

It's that time of year again...the time when I sort through multitudinous garden catalogs and buy seeds for the veggie and herb gardens. I call it garden porn. And if you're a gardener too, you know what I mean -- all those tantalizing photos of bodacious vegetables and flowers and shrubs and trees and...ahem...that kind of thing.

I am already hooked up with the bulk of my vegetable seeds, thanks to last year's leftovers and  FEDCO Seeds, a cooperative out of Maine. (For any interested readers -- they have a very short ordering deadline -- I believe March 15 -- so you'll have to get cracking if you want to buy seeds from them.)  Now it's fill-in-the-blank time.

It is always a stressful thing for me to balance my love of variety and novelty with the limitations of time, space and climate.

What I am trying to do this year, as I did last year, is think hard about what vegetables are really better left to our Amish neighbors to grow -- Amish neighbors with expertise, lots of sunny acreage and lots of free labor. It's ridiculous, for instance, to grow butternut and Delicata squash in my partially shaded little plot when Mrs. Mast down the road grows pounds and pounds of exhibition-size, high quality squash. On the other hand...you're not going to see the lovely patisson squash above on any Amish roadside stand anytime soon. Worth the risk for some rockin' steamed baby squash to gently spoon next to our pasta some summer evening out on the patio? Maybe.

So my garden is going to be something of a curiosity shop of heirloom tomatoes, technicolor leaf lettuces, and lots of green beans -- one of the few great successes of last year's poor growing season, which we froze and have been enjoying all winter long. I'm planting leaf celery, another success story -- dried, it's very good in winter soups and stews, especially on those days when you go to the crisper for celery and realize it's all gone. I'm upping the herb crops, since we couldn't keep ourselves in herbs last year. And, as we seriously attempt to help the honeybees and native bees around here, I'm growing more annual flowers, which I like to randomly add to the vegetable garden to attract all manner of pollinators. (And they look great.)

On the live plant front, I'm getting excited by a couple of native-plant sales coming up in the next few weeks. Our local extension office offers inexpensive trees, shrubs and native flowers on a pre-order basis; and in a couple of months a regional nature center will be hosting a native plant sale involving, I believe, plants that have been rescued from building projects; you bet I want some of those. 

Of course, part of this irrational exuberance is due to longer, brighter days and the promising drop of thawing snow slipping off the gazebo roof. Next week, for all I know, we'll have an eight-inch blizzard. But a girl can dream.

4 comments:

flowers said...

Beautiful.... the pictures and words were a joy to see and read... :O)

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Your use of the word porn reminded me of a description I read about the Food Channel: that it was filmed the same way that porn is filmed. I suppose that means that the camera lovingly caresses the food. Since I don't watch porn, I have no basis for comparison.

Gilly said...

I have never, ever seen little squash like that! We don't seem to have squash here - which looks as though it might be a great shame!

We have to make do with courgettes (zucchini) and imported butternet squash!

Crimson Rambler said...

Oh, I so hear you...